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Old 06-14-15, 09:42 AM   #21
bennelson
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Here's what PVWatts says I would produce if I mounted a 5K photovoltaic system straight south.


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Old 06-14-15, 10:19 AM   #22
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I also figured out how to use a spreadsheet to make a chart.
I entered the production estimate from PVWatts and my use from the last 12 months (from my electric bill statements) to make a chart.

The Green line shows how much energy I have used per month over the last year. The Blue line is the predicted energy production.

I would be overproducing almost the entire year, only using more than I would produce in the winter, when the sun is so low in the sky.

Oddly, there is a valley in the production line in November. That's the cloudiest month of the year in my area, as well as heading towards the winter solstice. December has more sun than November. Good to know that the software actually takes in to account real local weather patterns.

The software also accounts for a general amount of inefficiency, but does NOT have any shading info in it. I expect to have a clear view of the sky all morning, but the trees on the far west side of my property are likely to create some shading towards the end of the day at certain parts of the year.

The production spike in March looks unusual, but it's typically very sunny in March. Not sure why else it would spike though.

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Old 07-13-15, 07:55 PM   #23
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I see a lot of good suggestions, and I insist on habitability issue priority, like ventilation and damper integrity, aroma and air purity control within my 'people space' Fresh air as a priority, can be supplied by area breeze (hopefully you are not situated downwind of any factory, or upwind of any sensitive allergy-prone people). HEPA filters can be engineered in place and wrap up the concerns quite nicely, if you are maintenance oriented for such equipment. Many people acquire nice equipment with no thought of the necessary maintence to keep such equipment operating as designed. Humidity control is another concern for my 'good life' approach, understanding that my older relatives are experiencing difficulty handling heat and that air conditioning is pretty much required for their comfort and survival. I suppose I surely don't have to invite them into my garage to chat, but I personally enjoy their companionship as well as having an enjoyable environment for my grandchildren and children to learn some woodshopping or automechanics. The dust collection system would also be a 'must have' as earlier described. I also enjoy a choice relationship with my wife, having to occasionally enjoy the 'dog house' environment, so some furniture and living accomodations such as a shower and play room with a pull down cot would be a welcome addition to my garage. Hopefully this suggestion won't get your suggestion ridiculed as an opening to a disaster. I am serious about my suggestions. Have fun! Looking forward to your decision on which suggestions to nurture! Sofi
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Old 08-11-15, 10:40 AM   #24
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Any updates on the project Ben?
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Old 08-11-15, 10:42 AM   #25
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There will be soon.

I'm going through the permitting process. Unfortunately, due to exactly where I am, I have multiple governmental bodies I have to deal with, making getting proper permissions for construction both slow and expensive.
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Old 08-11-15, 11:35 AM   #26
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Fun with red tape. Good luck with that! Hope to hear some cool stuff soon.
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Old 08-11-15, 01:31 PM   #27
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Sorry to be late to the party to respond to this comment:
"The production spike in March looks unusual, but it's typically very sunny in March. Not sure why else it would spike though."

Solar panels like clear and cold. My solar arrays always put out more total kWh on a perfectly clear, cold winter day than on a perfectly clear, hot summer day, despite the total daylight hours being a good deal less through the winter. You'll note the rated output is always listed at 75 degrees, which should equate to ~ 60 degrees outside temp after you adjust for dark colors heating up more than light colors.
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Old 10-12-15, 03:01 PM   #28
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In my area, March typically IS clear and cold, but with more hours of daylight than in January. Looks a little odd on the chart, but I think it's about right for my area.

Likewise, November, instead of December, would be the worst month, as it's the cloudiest month of the year in my area. December has shorter days, but is sunnier.
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Old 10-12-15, 08:21 PM   #29
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I STILL don't have a building permit. The County is actually requesting that I get a NEW DEED to my house before they give me a permit! Does anyone at the County know the exact wording they want on it? NOOOOOOOOOO!.

Anyways, There are two trees that I need to remove. One is a large pine tree, which blocks my solar access (and drips sap over ANYTHING under it, meaning I can't use that part of my driveway at all!)

The other is a Maple, but not a very nice one (not a good shape, doesn't make me Maple Syrup, etc.) which will be exactly in the way of the back corner of the garage.

The pine is 70' tall and 2' diameter at the base. It's also only 10' from my garage, maybe 30' from my house, and LESS than 70' from the road. In other words, almost any direction it falls is the WRONG direction.

I read through an old Time-Life book and watched lots of YouTube videos on dropping trees. This past weekend, a friend stopped over, and we brought it down. It was a little nerve-racking...

We took out a wedge of wood in the direction it should fall, then made a relief or felling cut on the back. The tree didn't move, and I did NOT want to cut into it any more. I put a wedge in the back cut, and pounded it in with a sledge-hammer. In the video, that's what the hammering sound is at the beginning.



The camera was pretty far away (a safe distance, anyways...) and wide angle - so the video is not nearly as dramatic as it was to actually be there!

Anyways, there is now a LOT more sunlight on the front of my garage, and no pine sap dripping on vehicles.



I also started trimming the Maple behind the garage. Got one big branch down so far. It's really starting to open up the light back there too. I should also get some decent firewood. Maple is a bit too fast-growing to be GREAT firewood (compared to oak or hickory or something,) but I will have a lot of it!



It's a lot of work so far, but other than the fear of actually dropping a tree on my house, it's not that tough work, just a lot of it. I have a public yard waste site right up the street from my house, so it was just a lot of hauling pine branches down there. I found somebody through Craigslist who wants to come out and turn the pine tree into lumber with his portable mill.
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Old 10-13-15, 09:12 AM   #30
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If that somebody brings a portable sawmill over and cuts that tree into lumber, you'll have a dramatic amount of wood shavings to clean up afterwards. Cleaning up and hauling off a pile of wood chips is far easier on the back than cutting up a tree and hauling it off or burning it.

I do like the added light from where I've removed trees on our property. OTOH, on a miserably hot day outside, standing under a shade tree feels pretty good too. At times I can be so wishy washy.....

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